Phils' season turned with Halladay injury
If the Phillies’ 2012 season has proven anything, it’s that the idea that a starting pitcher can only affect one of every five games is faulty.
On May 29, Roy Halladay was placed on the 15-day DL with a lat strain. The Phillies were 26-24. With Halladay missing the remainder of the first half, the Phils went 11-26.
Now, Halladay, who will begin a rehab assignment
Thursday at Clearwater, wasn’t lights out before he hit the disabled list. He had a 3.98 ERA in 11 starts, and the Phillies had lost seven of his last eight outings at the time of his injury. But it wasn’t all his fault, either -- in four of those losses, Doc had a 2.89 ERA in 28 innings.
Halladay’s absence was not the only reason the Phillies had a .297 winning percentage the rest of the first half, but it was certainly a root cause.
In six replacement starts for Halladay, Kyle Kendrick went 0-4 with a 5.72 ERA. If you remove Kendrick’s last start, in which he pitched seven shutout innings against the Braves, his ERA in that span was 6.96.
From 2010-11, Halladay’s highest ERA in a month as a Phillie was 3.44. This season, he had a 6.11 ERA in the six starts prior to his DL stint, a stretch few would ever expect Halladay to duplicate. So in essence, we’re looking at an increase of two or three runs allowed per game every fifth day. That’s what happens when you replace a bona fide No. 1 starter with a fringy fifth starter.
The Phillies' team ERA through the day Halladay went to the DL was 3.67. Their team ERA since is exactly 5.00. Doc's loss affects even the days when he wouldn't have been scheduled to pitch, because it results in fewer innings pitched by starters and more stress on a relief unit that has been stretched to its limit through 87 games.
Going beyond the numbers, the Phillies are a team built on starting pitching and run prevention. One gets the feeling that even with all of the missing offense in the first half, they could have entered the All-Star break around .500 had Halladay and Lee not combined for 10 missed starts.
Through all the injuries in 2010 and 2011, Halladay was the one player who felt truly indispensable, like the one player the Phillies could not afford to lose for an extended period of time. This season, they did, and a team that used to command respect by sending out Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels in a given three-game series was forced to use both Joe Blanton and
Kendrick each time through the rotation. Given that neither stepped up during this span of time and Lee kept blowing leads, you see how 26-24 turned into 37-50, a record extremely difficult to come back from even if the Halladay of 2010-11 returns.
Phillies fans shouldn't be accused of taking Halladay for granted, but this six-week period should reveal just how much he's worth. E-mail Corey Seidman at firstname.lastname@example.org